Network Security for Small Businesses

Network Security for Small Businesses

In the world of cybercrime, there is no such thing as a small target.

Small Businesses are Big Targets for Cybercrime

Large businesses have the resources to invest in sophisticated security measures, but small businesses are often seen as easier prey. And with the ever-increasing sophistication of cyber attacks, even the smallest businesses are at risk. [1]

According to a 2022 report published by Barracuda;

The smaller the organization, the more likely their employees are to be targets for an attack. In fact, an average employee at a small business with less than 100 employees will receive 350% more social engineering attacks than an employee of a larger enterprise. SMBs are an attractive target for cybercriminals because collectively they have a substantial economic value and often lack security resources or expertise.

Smaller businesses should not overlook investment in security — both in terms of technology and user education. The cost of a breach can be a lot more devastating to smaller businesses.

According to research by Cybersecurity Ventures, 60% of small businesses will close their doors six months after a security breach.

With 43% of online attacks targeting small businesses, the cost of doing nothing can be too high. [2]

Security Controls

Several different security controls can be used to protect a network, including:

  • Firewalls: Firewalls are used to control traffic between different networks. They can block unauthorized traffic from entering or leaving a network.
  • Intrusion detection systems (IDSs): IDSs monitor network traffic for suspicious activity. They can be used to detect and alert potential attacks.
  • Intrusion prevention systems (IPSs): IPSs are similar to IDSs, but they can also take action to block potential attacks.
  • Vulnerability scanners: Vulnerability scanners identify security vulnerabilities in network devices and software.
  • Access control lists (ACLs): ACLs control access to network resources. They can be used to restrict who can access what and when.
  • Encryption: Encryption is used to protect data from unauthorized access. It can encrypt data at rest (on disk or in storage) or in transit (over a network).

Best Practices

In addition to the technical controls mentioned above, several best practices can be followed to improve network security, including:

  • Keeping software up to date: Software updates often include security patches that can help to protect against vulnerabilities.
  • Using strong passwords: Strong passwords should be used for all network devices and accounts.
  • Educating employees about security: Employees should be educated about security risks and how to protect themselves.
  • Having a plan for incident response: In the event of a security incident, it is important to have a plan for how to respond. This plan should include steps for containing, investigating, and recovering from the incident.

Key Takeaways

Network security is a complex and ever-changing field. It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest security threats and best practices to protect your network.

If you are a small business owner, we encourage you to take the following steps to improve your network security:

  • Install a firewall.
  • Use strong passwords.
  • Educate employees about security.
  • Back up your data regularly.
  • Have an incident response plan.

How MSPs Help Small Business Owners With Network Security

Here are some ways that MSPs (managed service providers) can help small businesses with network security:

  • Provide a comprehensive security assessment: MSPs can assess the security of a small business's network and identify any vulnerabilities. This can help the small business prioritize its security efforts and decide which security measures to implement.
  • Implement and manage security solutions: MSPs can implement and manage security solutions for small businesses, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and antivirus software. This can save small businesses time and money and ensure that their security solutions are always up to date.
  • Monitor and respond to security threats: MSPs can monitor small businesses' networks for security threats and respond to incidents as they occur. This can help to protect small businesses from data breaches and other costly cyberattacks.
  • Security training for employees: MSPs can provide security training for small business employees. This can help employees to understand security risks and how to protect themselves and the company from cyber-attacks.
  • Advise on security best practices: MSPs can advise small businesses on security best practices, such as keeping software up to date, using strong passwords, and backing up data regularly. This can help small businesses to improve their overall security posture.

For Example:

A small business owner is concerned about the security of their network. They don't have the time or expertise to manage security independently and are worried about being targeted by cyber-attacks. They contact an MSP for help.

The MSP conducts a comprehensive security assessment of the small business's network. They identify several vulnerabilities, including outdated software, weak passwords, and a lack of employee security training.

The MSP implements a number of security solutions to address the vulnerabilities they identified. They install a firewall, configure intrusion detection systems, and deploy antivirus software. They also provide security training for employees.

The MSP monitors the small business's network for security threats and responds to incidents as they occur. They also advise small businesses on security best practices.

As a result of the MSP's help, the small business is much more secure. They are less likely to be targeted by cyber-attacks and are better prepared to respond if attacked. [3]

References

  1. Segal, E. (n.d.). Small Businesses Are More Frequent Targets Of Cyberattacks Than Larger Companies: New Report. Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2023, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/edwardsegal/2022/03/30/cyber-criminals/?sh=b56626452ae5
  2. Spear Phishing: Top Threats and Trends. (n.d.). https://assets.barracuda.com/assets/docs/dms/Spear-phishing-vol7.pdf
  3. What is a Managed Service Provider (MSP)? (n.d.). SearchITChannel. https://www.techtarget.com/searchitchannel/definition/managed-service-provider

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Brandon Phipps

Brandon Phipps

Editor

Brandon Phipps, owner of Second Star Technologies, specializes in Managed IT Services for SMBs in Bakersfield, CA. With over 23 years of experience, he offers expert solutions in cloud computing, cybersecurity, and network management. A committed community member and coach, Brandon excels in leading and innovating in tech and sports coaching. His dedication to local businesses and communities is evident in his hands-on, tailored approach to IT solutions.

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